I always say that I’m not really a film person. It’s true – give me a book over a film any day. I went to see the new Star Trek movie last week (I’ve not been into Star Trek nearly as much as I was when I was young) and it was good, but I’ve been waiting avidly for The Great Gastby and finally(!) I got to see it. The whole run up until today I’ve heard relatively mixed reviews, so I was a bit anxious that it was going to be a huge disappointment, but I actually quite liked it.
I think the film captured the essence of the era’s extravagance and had a nice jazz flavour to it (my particular favourite part on this front lies with the guy opposite the city flat party). The isolation and emptiness that lies within this extravagance is clear, too, which I did think might have been lost from the trailer. I didn’t like the modern music, though. I understand trying to bring a modern flavour to a classic and, in general, that worked, but some of the music really seemed too jolting to watch. I tend to like a soundtrack to blend into the background, but I can count at least three instances where something started and I thought, “Well, that’s… weird.”
This has really rejuvenated my Leo-love. I’m not going to go into the “Why does he get overlooked?” debate, but I really do love the characters he plays and I think he did a really good job as Gatsby. He was completely charming and an effortless host, he was humble and shy, (obsessively) passionate when it came to Daisy, and he had the subtlety required to show how fundamentally askew Gatsby’s view of the world is. And he’s so likeable at the right times, so – to steal Nick’s viewpoint – hopeful. I really liked how he played Jay, to sum up.
My favourite part of the book was when Daisy goes to Nick for tea and Jay is embarrassed, anxious and – basically – freaking out. I was hoping this particular scene would be good in the film and luckily it was! I like when favourite scenes from books are my favourites in the film too, it happens so rarely.
The effects weren’t too great, like when they showed him in the war and Tom’s arrival into Daisy’s life. I think those transitions were poorly done and could have been far more successful as flashbacks. I also found the photoshopped photo of him in the war hilarious, but that’s just an additional thought.
Was it amazing? Not especially. I did enjoy it though, despite a midst of mediocre reviews, and I think it was a good modern representation of the book and Gatsby as a character. When Lurhmann gets this film right, it’s really enjoyable, but there’s quite a few bumps along the way to take it down quite a few notches. I thought that since my clean slate at a blog seemed to dwindle after a whole two days, I thought I’d bring a dose of Gatsby to proceedings.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”